Rated PG-13 - Running Time: 1:26 - Released 10/12/01

I'm not at all surprised that Corky Romano is such a bad movie. Wacky comedies starring Saturday Night Live cast members have had an amazingly consistent proclivity for lameness, and many of Disney's recent live-action films have been weak, too, so it's no surprise that Corky Romano, starring SNL's Chris Kattan (veteran of the 1998 bomb A Night At The Roxbury) and produced by Disney pictures, is bad. I'm just at a loss as to explain how bad it is. It's not just ill-conceived and poorly written. It's not just full of stupid jokes that fail to generate the slightest chuckle. It's not just run-of-the-mill Hollowwood tripe. It's all those things and worse. The debut effort from director Rob Pritts, written by David Garrett and Jason Ward, is almost willfully awful, as if its producers are consciously thumbing their collective noses at production quality and daring us to spend our hard earned dollars to see it, as if they are trying to see how low they can go with respect to quality and still make money off the multitude of addle-brained teenagers who make up the primary market share. IT IS AN INSULT TO US ALL AND AN ABOMINATION AGAINST EVERYTHING THAT IS HOLY. Well, okay, maybe that's a little strong. But you get the point.

Corky Romano (Kattan) is the forgotten son of crime lord Francis "Pops" Romano (Peter Falk). Although Pops's other sons, illiterate hothead Pauly (Peter Berg) and beefy closet-homosexual Peter (Chris Penn) have supported him in the family business, Corky went another way, becoming an assistant veterinarian at a clinic called "Poodles and Pussies." But when Pops comes under investigation by the FBI, thanks mainly to the information they gained from his trusted but treacherous consiglieri Leo (Fred Ward), Pops decides to call Corky in to go undercover and find out what he can. With a fake ID bearing the name "Agent Pissant," Corky joins the FBI. Despite his bumbling nature and wildly effeminate personality, he stumbles into one piece of luck after another, convincing his superior (Richard Roundtree) that he's a skilled agent with nerves of steel. He even manages to impress the tough but comely Agent Russo (Vinessa Shaw), who has been assigned undercover duty on the Romano case. However, the one person he fails to convince is the surly Agent Davis (Matthew Glave), who attempts to expose Corky for the fraud he is. And what makes it all absolutely hilarious (not) is that Corky doesn't even want to be there, you see. He just wants to be a veterinarian.

Although Chris Kattan admittedly possesses an amazing amount of energy, even his high-impact schtick can't save this film from its myriad weaknesses. The script is pure formula, utterly predictable pap with nothing remotely new or interesting thrown in for flavor. The supporting performances are the kind of trite stereotypes you'd see on a 1970s comedy/variety show, with a host of bland, featureless characters going through motions we have seen a million times before. And even the so-called effects are surprisingly cheesy, like a high school film project done on a shoestring budget. If I were the teacher, it would have failed.

If it were indeed the producers' intention to have bad production values and conspicously lame effects, it might have been funny. But Corky is not that smart, folks. Somebody, somewhere, actually believed in this dreck. *

Copyright 2001 by John R. McEwen and The Republican

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